Election 2021: Where do Czech political parties stand on climate change?

As the October vote looms, NGOs have ranked Czech parties on their commitment to combating climate change and protecting the environment.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 09.09.2021 14:04:00 (updated on 09.09.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Greens and the Pirates + STAN coalition are the political groups with the most comprehensive programs for tackling climate change and protecting the environment, according to Czech NGOs. The Green Circle and Friends of the Earth organizations gave their verdict on the climate commitments of parties running in October’s Czech elections.

The study of parties’ pledges on climate change highlights the gulf in perceptions of what should be done to help tackle the issue in the Czech Republic.

The charity groups analyzed 14 policy areas to uncover the political parties with the most comprehensive commitment to the environment. On a number of key issues, the Pirates + STAN coalition and the Czech Greens were ahead of their opponents in setting clear targets for reducing the Czech Republic’s contribution to climate change.

On the issue of phasing out the use of coal in the Czech Republic, only the Pirates and the Greens offer a specific date for the end of coal usage (2030 for the Greens, 2033 for the Pirates). The ruling ANO party promises a shift away from coal by 2038, but makes no specific commitment on this score. Specific proposals for the development of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels are meanwhile put forward by the Greens, the Pirates, the SPOLU coalition and the Social Democrats, but ANO does not present the details of its plans in this regard. The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party meanwhile rejects the idea of subsidies for renewable developments.

While parties agree about the need to transform the Czech landscape to provide greater protection to wildlife, a division again arises between parties who put forward specific ideas and those who leave their intentions vague. SPOLU, the Social Democrats, the Pirates and the Greens all put forward solutions such as the introduction of an obligation for certain amounts of agricultural land to be left uncultivated, as well as reforms to agricultural subsidies promoting nature and wildlife protection. ANO meanwhile proposes little in the way of clear solutions to help restore natural balance, only committing to limiting the use of pesticides.

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A similar division was noted on the issue of restoring health to Czech forests. While the Greens, Pirates and SPOLU have specific plans to regenerate forests, ANO’s only proposal is the mass planting of 350 million trees, which some environmentalists warn could actually have a detrimental effect of forest health.

“The vast majority of voters demand that environmental recovery, along with nature and climate protection, become top priorities. However, some parties avoid the necessary measures, which would often prove controversial. They also refuse to divulge how they will meet their targets,” said Daniel Vondrouš, Director of the Green Circle NGO.

As the big vote approaches this October, Czech parties are divided on their commitments to the environment. While all the major parties profess a commitment to combating climate change, only some of them offer specific proposals to bring that desired change into effect.

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